As I watched my eldest child use her texta to smash her biscuits up into tiny pieces all over the kitchen table and onto the floor, I wondered how my life got to this point.
“Stop doing that,” I told her firmly. “Stop doing that because I am the one who will have to crawl around on my hands and knees and clean it up and I don’t want to have to do that.”
“No,” she replied cheekily and with a touch of Satan.
“What do you think I am?” I said softly. “Do you think I enjoy spending my days running around after the three of you and cleaning up your messes? Don’t you think I’d rather be doing something else with my life, not just being your personal cleaner?”
“What?,” she said, reaching for another piece of paper to draw on, pushing more crumbs onto the floor with her sleeve.
“Don’t you think there’s more to my life than just cleaning?,” I wailed, thinking how did I get here?
“Can I have something to eat?” she asked, not looking up from her drawing.
“That’s it, I’ve had enough,” I replied. “You know what child. When you get bigger I am going to come over to your house with a hammer and a packet of biscuits and I am going to squash them up all over your kitchen table so crumbs go everywhere and then you can tell me what you think about it all then. OK. I mean it, I will do that.”
“How are you going to do that?” she asked.
“With a hammer,” I said. “With a big, big hammer.”
“No,” she replied. “How are you going to do that when you don’t know where I live?”
“I’ll ask your Dad where you’re living,” I said with a serious look on my face, yet silently laughing at her quick-witted response.
“He won’t know where I live either,” she smiled. “I won’t tell either of you where I live.”
“Ok then,” I said, happy that she’d even thought about leaving the house. “When do you think you might move out?”
“When I’m twenty,” she said, her five-year-old self bursting with pride on how she’d deflected my crazy.
“Good,” I smirked. “Twenty it is. And remember, even if you don’t tell us where you’re moving to, we’ll still find you. You will never escape us. Know that. Now clean up the crumbs.”
“What do you think I am?” she protested. “Your slave or something.”
And with that Miss E, the middle-child, held up her pretzel and yelled: “BOOBS”.
What’s life in your house like?